Birthplace: Kenosha, WI
You Know Him As: Director of the classic B-horror flick “The Amazing Colossal Man.”
Did you know?: Bert Ira Gordon (born September 24, 1922 in Kenosha) is an American film director most famous for such science fiction and horror B-movies as “The Amazing Colossal Man” and “Village of the Giants.” At the age of nine, Gordon began making home movies in 16mm. After being educated at the University of Wisconsin, Gordon began his work in show-biz doing television commercials in the early days of the medium. He soon moved on to film, specializing in “gimmick” movies, usually involving giants or gigantic animals. His first two films, “King Dinosaur” (1955) and “Beginning of the End” (1957), were fairly crude even by the standards of the mid ’50s, involving giant lizards and locusts. Most of Gordon’s work is in the idiom of giant monster films, for which he used rear-projection to create the special effects. His nickname “Mister B.I.G.” is a reference both to his initials and to his preferred technique for making super-sized creatures. None of his films has received significant critical attention, but his work has attained popularity in some circles. “The Cyclops” (1957) showed somewhat more promise, with its story about a man transformed into a one-eyed monster by atomic radiation, and “The Amazing Colossal Man” (1957), made for American International, was a major hit. Gordon followed this with “Attack of the Puppet People” (1958), about a scientist who shrinks people to doll size, while “The Spider” (aka Earth vs the Spider)(1958) was about a giant spider that attacks a small town. Gordon tried other forms of fantasy film during the ’60s, but giantism always served him well in pictures like “Village of the Giants” (1965), about juvenile delinquents who grow to mammoth proportions. During the ’70s, he scored two very minor hits with “Food of the Gods” (1976) and “Empire of the Ants” (1977) (both loosely based on works by H.G. Wells), both dealing with giantism and sporting ludicrous special effects. Gordon often did the special effects for his films in collaboration with his wife, Flora M. Gordon. Gordon’s “special effects” usually consisted of rear-projection enlargements and not much else, although his fantasy film “The Magic Sword” (1962) was surprisingly well made, with a better cast than usual in a Gordon film and a good story. Gordon has the honor of having the most films by any one director to be featured on the cult TV show “Mystery Science Theater 3000” (MST3K) with a total of 8 of his films being featured over the course of the show. As of 2013, Gordon, at the age of 91, has just finished post-production on his latest film (and first since 1990s “Satan’s Princess”), “Secrets of a Psychopath”, to be released in 2014.
Sources: wikipedia, imdb.com